Despite what people may believe, living a healthy lifestyle goes well beyond training. It engulfs all aspects of your life from training through to nutrition and recovery. Commitment and consistency along with the implementation of a challenging program, need to be accompanied by adequate nutrition & recovery methods.
Gone are the days when we preach that it is all about high intensity that needs to be done everyday. We now know better because injuries aside, no matter how hard you train, without allowing your body the time to recover from all that hard work, you will not be able to obtain the results that you desire.
image via pinterest
So how do you achieve that perfect balance? Zova‘s Exercise Scientist and Expert, Victoria Burdon shares some tips.
With new training facilities HIITing the scene, it seems that HIIT training is the quick and effective style that’s all the rage. This is true – you can improve your fitness and strength, and can maximise your gains while spending minimal time in the gym. But too much HIIT can take a toll on the body. This frantic and demanding style of training needs to be counterbalanced with some sort of low intensity training as well. To keep from burning out and overdoing it, HIIT should be done only 2 times per week. If you are one that struggles to fall asleep, always feels tired and rundown, experiences brain fog, or heavy mood swings you may need to reconsider and reduce this to 1 or none! Other aerobic training at a lower intensity like steady state jogging, swimming, or biking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness without the extra metabolic stress that comes with HIIT.
Overall, aerobic training should be done 2-3 times within the week, at varying intensities. Steady state, low-intensity, aerobic training can be great as an active recovery method on days when your muscles are sore or the body is struggling to recover. Reflecting the huge trend of virtual fitness, you will get to training alongside me and our celebrity guests through a 30-minute workout each week.
Strength training is important to incorporate into your routine on top of any aerobic training, to make sure your strength and movement patterns are adequate. Regardless of whether or not strength is one of your goals, strength training is still important to assist in everyday movements (ie. carrying groceries). Moving with control and full range of motion is important in teaching the body proper movement mechanics and technique. Depending on your goals, generally at least two sessions of strength training is adequate to keep you strong and moving well. If you have very little experience or don’t feel confident lifting weights, consider hiring a coach to get you started as this will make a huge impact on your technique and progress.
Along with strength and aerobic training comes the increased need for lengthening and releasing the muscles. Pilates, stretching, yoga, and mobility work helps the body to maintain full range of motion as muscles grow stronger and tighter. Pilates is my favourite way to do this, for men and women both! (Trust me – even the Rabbitohs do Pilates weekly) It challenges your strength endurance and works your core and stabilising muscles while working through a full range of motion. Adding a session like this to your training regime would work wonders but that being said, mobility and muscle release needs to be part of your daily plan. It takes months of consistent stretching and lengthening to make a lasting difference on your body, so don’t think one day of yoga a month is going to cut it (sorry!). Having good mobility and range of motion will not only benefit your strength training and movement in the gym, but increases blood flow and ease of movement which will make everyday life easier and more comfortable.
This is the part that is generally overlooked. We think discipline means training when you don’t feel like it and always going the extra mile, but it takes discipline to know when your body needs to rest. Recovering from all your hard work is a requirement, because that is when gains happen, not during the workout itself.
Recovery means taking a rest day once or twice a week, or maybe a rest week every month or two. But it also means eating and sleeping well on a regular basis. Everything you do outside the gym affects your training and progress so maintaining consistency in your lifestyle will get you the results you desire. Monitor your symptoms (sleep, energy, soreness, etc.) and determine what your body needs. Without appropriate recovery time the body will remain inflamed and will not recovery as effectively from previous sessions which can limit your potential, halt your progress, and lead to injury or illness.
Ultimately, there is no one perfect training guide that fits everyone. If you love to box or run, then do what makes you and your body feel good. A training program you can stick to is better than the perfect program you don’t stick to. For optimal health, strength training, cardiovascular training, and some sort of lengthening and recovery is necessary but the beauty of fitness is that you can mix and match the things you love so you enjoy the process!